Are you unable to reduce or remove your unhealthy daily anxiety levels because you’ve become attached to them? How might you even know?
One of the common hurdles faced by clients during therapy is the un-conscious inability to ‘let go’.
No surprise for me though – and it’s important I share this with the individual when observed, or they will potentially increase anxiety levels just at the point of breakthrough.
So why would we attach ourselves to anxiety, and how many of you believe anxiety has actually attached itself to YOU?
We know it took a while for anxiety to become a part of you. It had to be experienced, either by outside influences such as abusive significant others – perhaps parents or guardians, teachers, siblings or peers, or, as a result of a perspective, nurtured as a result of a throw-away comment, maybe even a singular event.
The Anxiety Sensitivity Index gives rise to clues that might differentiate us from the experiences of more normalised anxiety as an emotion*
|1.||It is important to me not to appear nervous.|
|2.||When I cannot keep my mind on a task, I worry that I might be going crazy.|
|3.||It scares me when I feel “shaky” (trembling).|
|4.||It scares me when I feel faint.|
|5.||It is important to me to stay in control of my emotions.|
|6.||It scares me when my heart beats rapidly.|
|7.||It embarrasses me when my stomach growls.|
|8.||It scares me when I am nauseous.|
|9.||When I notice that my heart is beating rapidly, I worry I might have a heart attack.|
|10.||It scares me when I become short of breath.|
|11.||When my stomach is upset, I worry that I might be seriously ill.|
|12.||It scares me when I am unable to keep my mind on a task.|
|13.||Other people notice when I feel shaky.|
|14.||Unusual body sensations scare me.|
|15.||When I am nervous, I worry that I might be mentally ill.|
|16.||It scares me when I am nervous.|
*Provided as just one example of measuring anxiety. Of value only when used only in conjunction with a professional. Scores are recorded from 0 = very little to 4 = very much.
A couple of years ago I saw one gentleman in his early 60’s for 6 months to work on his anxiety and low-esteem.
He had a successful life overall. He was successful in his work and career, enjoyed a wonderful relationship with his children, and up to the year or so before we met, he had appreciated good health too!
He had divorced some years earlier, but now had a healthy relationship with a ‘new’ partner.
But two negative elements endured and grew with him, mostly subconsciously, for much of his life and when the symptoms began to appear; somatic symptoms that could be ‘felt’, this began a belief that was a sense of catastrophe each time there was a twinge or other sensation.
From this early awareness of his mortality, the whole pack of cards came tumbling down, leaving him feeling like a crumbling, vulnerable failure.
And why? Because as a child he had been told, as so many I meet have, “they would never be anything!”
His Recovery and Re-calibration (Life Re-framed)
Once we had unearthed the root of his low self-esteem that was leading to anxiety, we could begin to challenge those beliefs using a number of models of therapy, including cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, mindfulness, coaching and general counsel; all helped him to regain trust in himself and to understand the truth that he was in fact, and always had been, good enough!
The Attachment is Strong
This attachment has to receive evidence that it is safe to change, via regular and consistent new ways of thinking. This leads to changes in emotions – and ultimately, behaviours.
If you would like help to shift those negative beliefs and emotions finding themselves attached to less than helpful thoughts, call or write now. Please share and leave your comments and feedback.
P.S. There will be further posts coming soon around psychological attachment and how it affects our position in terms of relationships and a whole lot more. Sign up to receive these direct to your inbox.
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net